The Rainbow Connection office is bustling with excitement because more than 30 wish families will be travelling to Disney over the next month! We want to take you behind the scenes to show you how our wish department prepares for these exciting moments.
First, TRC staff work closely with our Wish Families choosing dates, filling out required forms and securing travel arrangements.
Approx. 1-2 weeks prior to the wish departure date, we assemble and distribute the Wish Delivery Packages. The Wish Delivery Package includes a personalized wish binder. This contains all the specific details for the wish including reservations, activities, contact lists, itineraries and more! Once they’ve had a chance to review it, their Wish Coordinator schedules a call to walk them through the details, answering any questions along the way. It’s important that our families feel prepared and excited for their upcoming wish! Each package also contains travel details, a Rainbow Connection T-shirt for all family members, and fun surprises for the kids!
When a child’s wish is to visit the theme parks in Florida, they stay at a magical place called Give Kids the World. This is an incredible resort located in central Florida that partners with The Rainbow Connection to provide Wish Families weeklong magical wish trips to children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Tickets to all of the local theme parks including Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Sea World, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center and Legoland are provided. (www.gktw.org)
Each child’s wish is made unique with experience tailored to their heart’s desire. Perhapes they want a Mickey Mouse autograph, to meet their favorite princess or explore Harry Potter World. Whatever the wish, The Rainbow Connection makes sure that each child and their families have the opportunity to make lasting memories.
Make sure to follow us on Facebook @rainbowconnectionmichigan to see more wish stories and pictures over the next few months!
The Rainbow Connection (TRC) has been granting wishes for Michigan children with life threatening medical conditions since 1985. Although a lot has changed over the 35 years since the organization began, the magic of a wish continues to provide hope and joy to wish children.
Check out these 9 facts you might not know about TRC and the magic of making a dream come true.
- It’s more than a wish. In addition to granting wishes, TRC provides an umbrella of support services for all families served. When a child becomes seriously ill, life is suddenly turned upside down for all family members. The Special Response and Enhancement Program provide families with support and fun activities as they continue to experience hardships. College Scholarships are available for wish kids who go to college too!
- We grant wishes throughout the state of Michigan. TRC provides services to children throughout the 83 counties in the state of Michigan. In 2020, 80% of wishes were granted for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County children, but our Wish Staff travel to Traverse City, Marquette and wherever they are needed for our wish children.
- The Rainbow Connection does not have a waiting list. Our Wish Coordinators work hard to maintain the quality of care and service while we maintain our no wait policy. When the child is ready for their wish, TRC is ready to make it happen.
- Wish Kids receive surprise Happy Packs in the mail! Whether a child is going through a tough time in treatment, or just needs a pick me up, TRC sends a Happy Pack in the mail to cheer the child up. The surprise packages include coloring books, nail polish, card games and more!
- The first wish was to meet Muhammed Ali on July 24th, 1985. 16 year old John Bowden wished to meet heavy weight champion Muhammed Ali. He came to visit John at Children’s Hospital in Detroit and while the visit was set up specifically to meet John, Ali stayed to visit many sick kids throughout the hospital. The gesture by Ali brought joy to John during a difficult time and the impact remains with his family to this day.
- Wish Kids love to give back to other Wish Kids. Many of our wish kids raise funds to support other wish families. Ryan’s wish was granted in 2014 and he has been connected with TRC ever since. In 2016, Ryan started Leto Strong, an annual golf outing that has since raised over $25,000 to grant more wishes!
- We grant all kinds of wishes! Since 1985, over 3,750 wishes have been granted to Michigan children. In 2019, we granted 68 trips to Disney World, 28 shopping sprees and 2 meet and greets with celebrities!
- When a wish is received, the wish child and their family are joining The Rainbow Connection Family for life! With our Holiday Party, Summer Picnic and year round Enhancements, we love to visit with wish families throughout the year.
- Hundreds of TRC supporters and volunteers make our mission possible. 2020 has been a tough year, especially for our families who are caring for a child with a life-threatening illness. When the pandemic hit, we knew that our families needed support now more than ever. Because of the incredible connections that we have made with new and old community partners, donors, supporters, and volunteers, we have truly been able to support our families in a big way. In 2020, 856 wish family members received support through our Special Response Program. In 2021, we anticipate granting more wishes than usual in the year ahead as we work hard to keep true to our promise: no child in need of a wish will ever be turned away or made to wait.
Follow us on Facebook for even more wish stories at www.facebook.com/rainbowconnectionmichigan. For more information on events and volunteer opportunities visit www.rainbowconnection.org
The Rainbow Connection’s (TRC) mission is built on the foundation of connections made with individuals and organizations that remind our wish families that they are not alone. TRC supports wish families before, during and after their wish, and this value has been of the utmost importance this year and throughout the holiday season.
Wish Families have had the opportunity to attend many drive by or virtual Santa events. The Clinton Township Parks and Rec hosted an experience where wish families walked through a holiday themed hallway leading to a video chat with Santa himself! The Pennanen Family Farm is hosting a letters to Santa experience. This will be a magical night where wish families can drive through the decorated farm and wave to Santa. They will be able to drop off a letter for Santa and even drive by the reindeer!
Maceri Produce, a Wholesale Produce Distributor, is donating 100 boxes full of produce, dairy and protein for our wish families. Detroit Food Rescue is another organization that is helping provide meals to wish families. For six weeks, they have coordinated with restaurant Saffron De Twah to provide amazing meals through their community kitchen.
Another highlight of December was the Annual TRC Wish Family Holiday Party! This year, the event was a drive-thru where families received a meal from Crispelli’s, cookies and milk, crafts and gifts! Maria’s mom shares the importance of this experience to her family,
“I just wanted to take a moment to tell you thank you for this afternoon. A year ago today, Maria and I were inpatient at Mott and she was very sick because of the chemo. A year ago today, most of Maria’s hair had fallen out and we made the decision to shave the remaining patches off since it was causing her to be very itchy and uncomfortable. I never thought a year later Maria and her siblings would be healthy, happy and enjoying Christmas activities such as the one held today. Thank you for bringing smiles to their faces and making my heart happy! Maria has been squeezing her teddy bear so tight since we left!”
Finally, many generous donors have chosen to adopt wish families for the holiday season. 100 of our wish families will be receiving gifts and toys this year! As we all navigate these uncertain times, just knowing that TRC has the resources through donors and community partners to assist wish families in need brings an overwhelming feeling of relief. We are tremendously grateful to those who have worked with us to provide new ways of supporting Michigan families.
Visit www.rainbowconnection.org/donate to support these programs for our wish families and help grant wishes to Michigan children with life threatening medical conditions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health and welfare of so many people. At the same time, many of our wish children have been quarantined to protect their weakened immune systems. This in turn has forced parents to stay home with their children. Many of our families experienced work stoppages and layoffs compounding their already difficult situations.
The Kohler Cancer Fund stepped up to help Michigan families battling a life threatening illnesses. Since partnering with The Rainbow Connection last year, they provided assistance to seven of our wish families. Their program is based upon the specific needs of a particular family and are designed to offset the hidden costs for families as they battle cancer. Assistance may be used to cover the costs of temporary lodging while the child undergoes treatment, child care expenditures, transportation costs, lost wages and more. This Fund helped our families shore up their financial setbacks so they can focus on helping their child through their medical procedures and treatment all while trying to keep them safe from the virus.
Ingrid Todt, Wish Director at the Rainbow Connection, says “This assistance that you are providing t to these fragile families is such an incredible gift. Calling to make them aware of your commitment to them, and hearing their shouts of joy or tears of hope over the phone – you are making such a difference!”
Aiden’s family, who received assistance from the Kohler Cancer Fund says, “Our family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts for the generous donations. It lifts such a burden off our family’s shoulders.”
Thank you, Kohler Cancer Fund, for the amazing work that you do to help families in need!
Click here to learn more about the Kohler Cancer Fund.
Team Sunrise Real Estate Services sponsored and helped raise over $60,000 to celebrate The Rainbow Connection’s 35th Birthday! When our Birthday Party had to be cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions, Team Sunrise jumped in to host a raffle that honored 35 years of granting wishes to Michigan children with life-threatening illnesses. They also generously agreed to match donations towards the raffle – up to $7,500!
For the past two months, Team Sunrise, Rainbow Connection Volunteers, Staff and Board Members have been selling tickets to donors all over the state of Michigan. On Friday, September 11th, the winners were announced at the TRC Office. Congratulations to all six winners!
$50 Raffle Prize
- Chris Stomack
- Gary Heitman
$20 Raffle Prize
- Mary Modetz
- Karen Hertz
- David Franz
In addition to the raffle, Team Sunrise has helped TRC in numerous other ways. They have sponsored wishes and even make a donation for each house sold at their agency – Team Sunrise Real Estate Services! Most recently, they helped sponsor Addison’s wish to go to Disney World. At just 12 years old, Addison was diagnosed with an adult form of ovarian cancer. A very rare case, Addison and her family sought treatment at the University of Michigan Hospital. Addison went through surgeries and a variety of chemo treatments while battling the cancer. Addison’s home town of Ubly, Michigan rallied around her and her family. For one week Addison and her family were able to spend quality time with one another to create long lasting memories.
Thank you Team Sunrise for your continued dedication to our wish children and your commitment to sharing our mission throughout the state of Michigan!
The Rainbow Connection (TRC) is excited to announce that we have been awarded both the 2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency by GuideStar and, for the eighth consecutive year, the Four Star rating from Charity Navigator. This is the highest level of recognition offered by both GuideStar and Charity Navigator.
Receiving four out-of-four Stars for eight straight years is an honor only 5% of charities evaluated by Charity Navigator receive. Both of these ratings represent The Rainbow Connection’s commitment to fiscal responsibility in stewarding the donations provided to us in fulfilling our mission of providing wishes to Michigan children with life threatening illnesses. Of each dollar spent in 2019, over 86 cents was devoted to TRC’s mission.
Wishes often come at the end of long journeys full of treatment plans and hospital stays. Wishes are milestone markers and opportunities to reflect on victories. The opportunity to receive a wish gives hope to children like Michael, who wished for a beach vacation with his family. Michael’s mom says, “Honestly, Michael’s journey with a tumor has been difficult. He had been through so many unpleasant experiences. The hope of his future wish trip was something he held onto and thought about during challenging moments. This vacation exceeded all of our expectations! Sharing this trip with our family is something we can carry with us for the rest of our lives.”
Click the following links to learn more about TRC’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency on both their GuideStar profile page and the Charity Navigator profile page.
The Rainbow Connection is excited to announce that our Special Response program has been awarded funding from the Children’s Foundation. Their foundation supports pediatric research, education, community benefit programs, and other initiatives that improve the health of children in Michigan.
Through the funds from the Children’s Foundation, we will be able to provide immediate relief in the area of groceries, gas, car repairs, rent/mortgage, utilities and other needs to approximately 75-150 wish families in need. Our Special Response Program is a cornerstone to our unique wish program by providing support to our families before, during and after their wish. With the current economic uncertainty in the world, we have been made aware of the increased hardships many of our families are facing.
We are incredibly grateful to the Children’s Foundation for their tremendous support of our wish children across the state of Michigan! Thank you!
To learn more about our Special Response Program, click here.
As the world continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19, many of us have had to change our daily routines and activities. Although our wishes have been paused, we continue to serve our Wish Families!
The Rainbow Connection (TRC) staff is willing to do whatever it takes to keep our mission going! The Wish Department brings new opportunities for connection through Virtual Enhancements. This has included crafts, a magic show, kick-boxing, science experiments, and more! Wish Coordinator Tatiana says, “I enjoy spending time with and getting to see our wish kiddos. I hope the enhancements we offer provide a smile and some joy to their days. I hope wish families will continue to join us for more upcoming fun.”
On Wednesday, Chemistry Teacher Laura McKelvey hosted a Science Virtual Enhancement for our wish families. 18 wish children attended and had a blast creating science experiments! A wish mom that attended the enhancement with her three kids says, “I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for today’s science class! Laura and Josh in particular really enjoyed it. This is the most engaged either of them has gotten with a Zoom class in a while. Thank you for all the work you guys are doing to put these together.”
Coming up this week in Virtual Enhancements is a Mother’s Day Craft with Wish Coordinator, Tatiana! Thank you to all the volunteers who have provided their compassion and expertise to make these experiences possible. We hope these activities will continue to bring joy to our wish children and their families and look forward to seeing even more smiling faces!
As we all navigate these uncertain times, just knowing that The Rainbow Connection has the resources to assist Wish Families in need brings an overwhelming feeling of relief. Thankfully, we are using the Impact 100 Oakland County (OC) grant money to support our TRC wish families in Oakland County who need it the most. We have been purchasing Kroger gift cards for these families to help get them through these tough and uncertain times.
This did not go unnoticed by Kroger. Our good friend at Kroger, Rachel Hurst, immediately wanted to help. She has matched $5K from Impact 100 Oakland County with $5,000 in additional gift cards from the Kroger’s Foundation! Impact 100 Oakland County not only supports our wish families in these times of need, their money has sparked others to match their funds to help even more Oakland County families in need. Thank you Impact 100 Oakland County and Kroger!
“𝘞𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘒𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘳 𝘎𝘪𝘧𝘵 𝘊𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘧𝘶𝘭! 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 Impact100 Oakland County 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘮𝘢𝘻𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘳, 𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘤𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥. 𝘗𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘐𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘵100 𝘖𝘢𝘬𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘺! 𝘉𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘭𝘭!” -Julian and Family
The Rainbow Connection (TRC) is gearing up for a BIG week of wishes! This week, seven wishes are coming true! Five wish families are traveling to Disney World and two wish children are receiving shopping spree experiences. Today, we’re sharing stories from three of these wish children who will all experience their wishes this week!
Abrahm wakes up each morning and asks his mom “Is it time to go on vacation? To fly in the sky? To go to the beach?” He is so excited and his mom loves watching him and his big brother being “absolutely silly giddy” over this incredible experience. They have never been on a family trip and are really looking forward to this time together as a family. Later in February, Abrahm has cardiac testing and procedures so his wish will give him something positive to remember and time to play like a little kid.
Kassidy has a love of cheerleading and she is slowly regaining her strength to cheer with her team again. She is an only child and has a heart of gold. Even though she is battling cancer, Kassidy is always looking out for others. Her wish trip to Disney World is a total surprise! It has always been her dream to go to Disney World but until the limo pulls up in her driveway she will have no idea what is in store for her this week – but we know it will be magical!
Titus first met with TRC in September of 2019. His Disney World wish trip will be extra special because he is celebrating his fourth birthday! Titus is most looking forward to meeting all the Disney characters with his three siblings. His mom says, “I’m just in awe of everything we’ve experienced in the short time we’ve been a part of the TRC family! I cannot believe the amount of love and encouragement the whole team blesses us with!”
We are wishing magical adventures to all of our wish families travelling or experiencing their wishes this week! If you would like to learn more about our mission, click here.